Trail Riding

Posted on Feb 4, 2015

I was invited to do a horse clinic in Montana, so Ty and I decided to make a road tripof it – hoping to spend a couple of blissful days alone together while also escapingsome of the wedding planning craziness.

As we drove through the countryside, I asked Ty to stop off for a trail ride in a beautiful spot I had ridden a few times before with my mother. And it was perfect. The ride ended with us wading through a nearby river together on horseback, while the sun shone down...

There is nothing quite like a trail ride, but for it to be an enjoyable and safe experience for all concerned – your horse needs to be properly trained for it. Many horses are used to the safety of an enclosed arena, but out in the countryside not only are you faced with wide-open spaces, you may also need to navigate up and down steep hills, maneuver across slippery or rocky trail conditions, go around obstacles, back out of small spaces, move across bridges, or maybe even swim through water.

First, it’s key that your horse is athletic and surefooted. But the other vital element to consider is your horse’s temperament. It’s essential that any horse used for trail riding has a calm disposition, is willing to take on new challenges and doesn’t spook easily.

If your horse has a good demeanour, then it’s up to you to take the time to properly train him in a safe environment (such as an arena) in order to desensitize him to the potentially scary situations he may encounter on the trail.

And when you do that, almost any horse – whether it’s normally used for trick riding, jumping, dressage or western pleasure – will make a good trail horse.